It was very clear from the ‘exit poll’ published at 10pm on election night, that politics was going to be very different in the morning.
Three days on, we have a new Conservative government and have lost the leaders of the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP. Quite shocking results. None of the minority parties was needed after all to go into a Coalition with the bigger parties. No need for parties to identify their ‘red lines’ (policies which they would not give up on in coalition). No deals. A lot of wasted time in both the parties and in the media speculating about what might happen.
So now we have the results. The electorate has spoken. The clear party winners were the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party and UKIP. There will be many reviews of the results to follow and for the leader-less parties, there will be a focus on the new appointees and the future direction of these parties.
Ironically, one of the big issues to emerge after the election is the voting system itself. I say ironic, because the party which has long campaigned on its reform, the party which was in government for 5 years, the Liberal Democrats, will not even be a major part of these discussions with its few MPs.
This time, the party which was severely disadvantaged by the first past the post system is UKIP. Despite a share of the vote which averaged higher than the SNP, the party ended up with one single MP compared to the 54 SNP Members. Clearly the new UKIP leader will be campaigning to change the election system to reflect the fact that its support is spread more widely than that of some of the other parties.
Few predicted the results of Election 2015 – a new majority government, three lost party leaders and the voting system back on the agenda. The agenda will now shift to the detail of these.